Forum on sustainable development complexity

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 C. Darve    28-03-2024     Leggi in PDF

Progress in science and technology for sustainable development faces complex challenges. Additionally, the proliferation of misinformation exacerbates these challenges, limiting progress. The concept of "Sustainable Development Complexity" results from the interplay of environmental, social, economic, and technological dimensions to provide a sustainable environment. Addressing these complexities necessitates a comprehensive understanding and an interdisciplinary approach, as illustrated in a previous issue of SIF Prima Pagina.

In December 2023, George Ellis talked about this in the context of the PHYSICS MATTERS on-line colloquia series of the Forum on International Physics of the American Physical Society, where experts share knowledge with communities in need. Ellis said: "In addressing scientific and societal issues, it is imperative to recognize the intricate interplay between environmental, social, economic, and technological factors. Only through holistic perspectives and interdisciplinary collaborations can we hope to navigate the complexities of sustainable development effectively."

In January 2024, another PHYSICS MATTERS colloquium, namely a forum dedicated to "Sustainable Development Complexity", brought together experts like Bernard Amadei, Barbora Bruant Gulejova, Amal Kasry, Andrea Lausi, and Michel Spiro.

They talked about how we can fight misinformation and make decisions based on good evidence when it comes to sustainable development, rising awareness about the role of science for society and the crucial role of education of young generation.

Here are some clear examples of actions taken or to be taken that have been discussed:

1. Cross-disciplinary Research Collaborations: Collaborative efforts involving scientists, engineers, social scientists, and policymakers aim to holistically address complex sustainability challenges. By integrating diverse perspectives and expertise, these collaborations foster innovative solutions that account for the interconnected nature of environmental, social, and economic systems.
2. Teaching People: Running programs and campaigns to teach people why sustainable development matters can help them learn how to tell what's true and what's not, so they can make good decisions.
3. Checking Facts: Supporting groups that check if information is true or not can stop false information from spreading and make sure people know what's really going on.
4. Making Good Policies: Leaders play a big part in fighting misinformation and making sustainable development happen. They can make rules that encourage people to be honest and responsible.
5. Working Together Globally: Big groups like CERN and the United Nations help different countries work together. They share knowledge and ideas to fight misinformation and make the world more sustainable. The so-called “CERN model” or “Big Science model” of peaceful global collaboration for common goals offers possible useful insights in tackling complex sustainability issues.
6. Supporting Women: Women are important leaders in making the world more sustainable. Programs led by women, like teaching about the environment, show how everyone's voice matters.

By working together to stop misinformation and teach people to understand information better, we can make the world more informed and stronger. There's going to be another talk at PHYSICS MATTERS on June 27, 2024 to keep this conversation going. By understanding the complexity of sustainable development and using everyone's skills and knowledge, we can make a fairer and greener future for everyone.


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Christine Darve – Engineering scientist at the European Spallation Source, Sweden, she obtained her PhD from Northwestern University and worked at CERN and Fermilab. She is Past Chair of the Forum on International Physics (FIP) of the American Physical Society (APS), co-founder of the Nordic Particle Accelerator Program (NPAP) and the African School of Fundamental Physics and Applications (ASP). She received an APS Fellowship in 2016.